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Update On Child Care In Hospitals

"If you cannot lift the load off another's back, do not walk away. Try to lighten it." —Frank Tyger


The September 2002 issue of The Connection, the official newsletter of Child Care in Health Care, contains some insights by Dana Friedman on trends in child care in hospitals. Here is an excerpt from this article:

"Over time, the proliferation of hospital-based child care centers has ebbed and flowed along with industry shifts and nursing shortages. In 1968, a survey of 3,000 hospitals conducted by the Women's Bureau in the U.S. Department of Labor identified 98 hospitals that were operating child care centers. In subsequent studies by the Department of Labor during the 1970s, a slight increase in hospital-based child care centers was observed. By the mid-1980s, as employers across the country were beginning to address child care and family concerns, the number of on-site centers at hospitals increased to about 600, according to the National Association of Hospital Affiliated Child Care Programs (currently called Child Care in Health Care). By the mid-1990s, the Association had a database of almost 1,400 centers. Today, according to Membership Director Diane Schulz of Bryan LGH Medical Center in Lincoln, Nebraska, the database includes 1,073 hospitals that sponsor child care centers. With 5,810 registered hospitals nationwide, according to the American Hospital Association, this makes child care part of the business strategy in 18% of all hospitals.

Though on the rise today, the recent dip in hospital-based child care centers is attributable to a preoccupation with mergers and acquisitions, new rules created by managed care, and cost-containment measures. According to Rose Oliphant of Presbyterian Hospital of Plano in Texas, and President of Child Care in Health Care, "The downward slide started when Congress began playing with managed care. The reimbursement from insurance was lower and some hospitals shut down their child care centers as a way to cut costs." Some centers did not survive a merger. Some closings were the result of budget cuts. And some fell victim to poor management. Many of the first centers were run by hospitals themselves and staffed by people who didn't have the necessary business background.

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